This week's Official UK Singles Chart

1 GOTTA GET THRU THIS (Daniel Bedingfield)

Widespread rumours have it that a few months ago this single became the latest in a long line of tracks to become the most expensively licensed dance single ever, Relentless records having paid a sum running into six figures for the right to release it. Having said that, you can understand why, the track having been a smash club hit during the summer at a time when nobody was really sure who the artist was (some were convinced it was Dane Bowers under an assumed name). In actual fact, Daniel Bedingfield is a teenager from London who recorded the track at home using the same kind of recording kit that you or I could buy from any high street store. He originally did it to impress a girl (so the story goes) and now finds himself the hottest new garage act of the moment, a star who has shone through on raw talent alone and oh yes, of course, the latest person to find himself with a Number One hit single. In actual fact, this is another single whose sales are quite regionally polarized, reports earlier in the week suggested that the country is actually split into three as the most popular single of the week. Much of the support for Daniel Bedingfield has come from London and the South East, S Club 7 retaining the edge throughout much of the rest of the country but with Scotland, in particular, going ape for the PPK track. This does mean that Gotta Get Thru This may well linger in the Top 5 for a few weeks to come whilst everyone else catches up on just how good it is. Don't be surprised if it is still at the top end of the chart come Christmas [spoiler alert: and beyond].

Ah yes, Christmas. You knew it was coming. The time of year is upon us once more when speculation reaches fever pitch and money is laid in huge amounts on that uniquely British seasonal phenomenon - just what record will be topping the charts come Christmas Day? In actual fact the speculation is somewhat muted this year, largely due to the lack of any big names in the race (no Westlife, no Bob The Builder, no Spice Girls) which means the winner is likely to come from an unexpected source - well either that or it will be Robbie Williams. The shape of the singles market has also killed off much of the fun in recent years of course, speculation being confined to a couple of singles that are released in the same week as the Christmas chart, although last years titanic tussle between Westlife and Bob The Builder proves that there is life in the concept yet. So what of this year then? There are just three more chart weeks to go now, the Christmas chart being unveiled here on dotmusic on Sunday 23rd. At the time of writing William Hill have Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman as 4-11 odds-on favourites, the Tweenies at 5-2 and the Hermes House Band at 6-1. Daniel Bedingfield by the way is way out at 33-1. Those who like a laugh may enjoy betting on "Any Big Brother Contestant" at 100-1. No sign of George Harrison in the list though. Hmmm.


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3 RESURRECTION (PPK)

Speaking as we were of big club hits, the second biggest single of the week comes straight from clubland. This one has a cute story behind it too as it can claim to be the first ever club hit to originate from Russia. The instrumental track samples the little-known theme from the film Sibiriada and transforms it into a storming and quite memorable instrumental track. Top 3 is enough to cement PPKs place in history as they duly become the first ever Russian act to score a Top 10 hit. Strangely enough they are actually the second act from Russia to have a Top 40 single this year - former Eurovision hopeful Alsou having made Number 27 with Before You Love Me back in May. PPK are 33-1 outsiders to be Christmas Number One. Save your money on that one.


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4 EVERYBODY (Hear'Say)

Well if you needed confirmation that everyone knows that the Hear'Say novelty is set to wear off, just look at the way that after just two hit singles the TV-created fivesome have been raced into the studio to produce their second album. Not that you can blame them too much, after all nobody ever became poor by striking whilst the iron was hot, but nonetheless the spectacle of a group who did not exist in any official sense at the start of the year releasing their second long player a mere nine months after the first is a very entertaining one. The title track becomes their third single and in truth there is nothing wrong with it at all, and quite a great deal right. The harmonies are there, the party-friendly singalong chorus works perfectly (even if it is oddly reminiscent of Five's Keep On Movin') and they all have big smiles on their faces in the video. What they don't have of course is a third successive Number One hit although with so much other chart activity this week this is less of a sensation than might otherwise have been the case. As far as flashes in the pan go, Hear'Say have at the very least made some of this years best pop singles and in truth it is this aspect of their career that should be their enduring legacy. The fact that they too are 33-1 to be Christmas Number One tells its own story.
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6 WHAT IF (Kate Winslet)

There aren't many hit singles that make headline news several months before they even hit the shops but this was certainly the case for this single, Dotmusic having reported the release of What If way back in June. The sweet ballad is taken from the soundtrack of the new animated film version of A Christmas Carol, EMI having been so taken with its quality that they persuaded the actress to let them release the track with proceeds going to her favourite charities. Like many classically trained actresses, Winslet can actually sing very well, her musical talents having first been heard in 1995's Sense And Sensibility. As a result there has been none of the usual "actresses trying to become pop stars" backlash, instead most have sat back and watched with interest to see how the track would do. Although it was at one stage considered a big favourite to top the charts for the festive season the single has now drifted out to 12-1. It is unlikely to ever top the listings but if there has to be an out of character classic ballad on the singles chart this Christmas, this single will do very nicely.


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7 CALLING (Geri Halliwell)

Poor old Geri. Not only is best mate Robbie Williams now telling the world how unhinged he thinks she is, so many people are falling over themselves to be rude about the third single from her second album that it will go totally unnoticed that it has become a bigger hit than its predecessor. The facts do not lie, Scream If You Wanna Go Faster reached Number 8 in August whilst the rather weedy ballad Calling has crept in at Number 7. Anyway if you want to hear some rude things about the record then go dig out a review from somewhere, there are enough of them about. The time when people stop caring about the musical careers of the various Spice Girls is well and truly upon us. Geri Halliwell is 100-1 to top the festive chart, the same price as Emma Bunton and Victoria Beckham.
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9 WHERE'S YOUR HEAD AT (Basement Jaxx)

Everyone's favourite track from the Rooty album becomes its third single and returns Basement Jaxx to the Top 10 after the eyebrow-raising failure of Jus 1 Kiss which charted at Number 23 back in October. Damien Peachy supplies the lead vocals on the track which is now their fourth Top 10 hit single. I've never pretended to be the world's biggest dance fan but it is very hard to ignore the appeal of Basement Jaxx, their ever-growing legacy of club masterpieces that sound just as good on the radio or on the hi-fi at home is a glowing testament to their talents. Best British Group? They surely have to be up there, even if you cannot get odds on them being Christmas Number One.
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12 RAP DIS/ONLY WANNA KNOW... (Oxide & Neutrino)

The So Solid Crew may well be riding high in the album charts and indeed this week still have a Top 40 single (They Don't Know slipping to 35) but that does not stop the two most high-profile of their members continuing with their own career which of course predates the rise of the larger collective. So it is that Oxide & Neutrino clock up their fifth Top 20 hit single, their first since Devil's Nightmare made Number 16 in July. Just like the rest of So Solid Crew, their biggest hit is a Number One smash, Bound 4 Da Reload having topped the chart in May 2000.
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13 CRYING AT THE DISCOTHEQUE (Alacazar)

Presenting yet another new entry from clubland, this time in the shape of a single that dominated charts all over the continent earlier in the summer but for some strange reason has had to wait until now for a proper release in this country. Alcazar are far from your usual anonymous club act, a Swedish trio consisting of Andreas, Tess and Annikafiore who are more than happy to front their own live shows and TV appearances. Based around a sample from an old Sheila B Devotion track [Spacer], this is actually a shade above your average continental club hit. It may be a little late in the day to go reminding people of their summer holidays but as the first shot in what could be a run of hits for Alcazar it does the job perfectly.


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24 GONE ('Nsync)

The evolution of America's favourite boy band continues. After waxing lyrical about dirty pop on their last hit (Number 9 in July) they go with one of the better tracks from the album Celebrity, one that is co-written by the man who gets to see Britney Spears naked. It is funny but those who used to complain that all the Cheiron-generated 'Nsync tracks sounded the same are now wondering why the group don't sound as good as they used to. The acoustic, minimalistic ballad Gone is a far far better track than most people will give it credit for although the fact that it can only reach Number 24 (their smallest hit since the Gloria Estefan collaboration Music Of My Heart made Number 34 early in 2000) suggests that their appeal in this country may well be becoming, how can we say this, more selective. Anyway if you need something to brighten your day, go look up the review of this single elsewhere on dotmusic and see if you can spot the phrase that made me cry with laughter when I first read it last week. [Clearly the greatest line ever, now lost forever to the digital dustbin].
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25 SAY THAT YOU'RE HERE (Fragma)

Like their previous hit You Are Alive, this new release from Fragma features vocals from Damae who is now reported to be a permanent part of the setup. Anyway you know what to expect here, sweet female vocals, swirling synths and lyrics that are probably meant to mean something incredibly profound but which in fact don't add up to much. This is actually a better pop song than its predecessor but Number 25 (the smallest Fragma hit yet) suggests that people are either losing interest or already have the album. She looks cute in the video though...
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28 WISH YOU WERE HERE (Wyclef Jean)

Perfect Gentleman may have surprised a great many people but in truth it turned out to be one of the most memorable singles of the year, the tale of the befriended table dancer hitting Number 4 in July and managing an impressive 7 week run inside the Top 10 and in the process giving the album a much deserved boost. Somehow I doubt the same will be true for the fourth single from The Eclectic. If the title of the track set alarm bells ringing inside your head then I am afraid your worst fears are about to be realised. This track is Wyclef Jean's unique take on the classic Pink Floyd track, the title track from their 1975 album. It takes a bold man to cover a Pink Floyd track, especially given the fantaticism and obsessiveness of their now ageing band of hardcore fans. Full credit to him for trying but I personally don't think he manages to pull it off, leaving the world still waiting for a Pink Floyd cover version that is worthy of the effort [paging the Scissor Sisters]. Needless to say it is set to become the smallest solo hit for Wyclef Jean, falling short of the Number 25 peak of Guantanamera from September 1997.
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29 CLOSER TO ME (Five)

Funny story this. When Five decided to split a few months ago their record label appeared to spin themselves into a lather wondering how to squeeze the last few drops out of their hitmaking potential. Closer To Me was already on the release schedules for early November and it was quickly turned into a promotional tool for a farewell Greatest Hits collection. The problem was that the Grease-sampling Rock The Party was a far better sendoff for one of the most consistently successful pop groups of the last few years and would make a perfect per-Christmas single. Was there time to promote both? This appears to be the strange compromise that was worked out. Closer To Me appeared as a single in November and it duly shot to Number 4. The problem was it appeared to be one format short with only one version of the CD single being available. This week it became clear why as CD2 of Closer To Me officially appeared in the shops with Rock The Party added as a double a-side. Those who were expecting this to result in a surge of sales for Closer To Me probably overlooked the fact that both tracks are on both Greatest Hits and their final album Kingsize so the only people who would really want to snap up the new format are die-hard fans. Still the surge in sales was enough to propel the single back up five places, hence it reappears inside the Top 30. So that is it for Five, the boy band that it was OK to like and who can look back at a career that saw them reach the Top 10 with every one of their 11 singles, 3 of which topped the charts and 3 more which landed in the runners up slot. What is more they have bowed out on their own terms whilst still at the peak of their game. Respect.
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33 LOWRIDER/TROUBLE (Cypress Hill)

Something has happened to Cypress Hill's audience in the last year or so. How else to explain the fact that their first chart single for 15 months can do little more than creep into the bottom end of the Top 40. Lowrider/Trouble does at least chart two places higher than their last hit Can't Get The Best Of Me from September 2000 but the permanently stoned rappers may well have to come to terms with the fact that their Top 20 hitmaking days are behind them.
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39 I'M WAKING UP TO US (Belle And Sebastian)

A second hit single of the year for Belle And Sebastian, this following on from Jonathan David which made Number 31 back in June. Not even their infamous Best New Act gong at the Brits a couple of years ago has been able to propel the group beyond the status of minor indie distraction. A shame really as they are better than most people give them credit for. Their biggest hit remains Legal Man which made Number 14 in June 2000.


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